World Youth champion Atichai Phoemsap spearheaded Thailand’s youngsters into four boxing finals at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old lightweight scored a 5-0 points decision over Burlan Safarov of Azerbijan to set up a showdown in the final against Taras Bondarchuk of Ukraine.
“I have achieved my target by reaching the final. I stuck to the instruction from my coach to bother him with my one-two punch combination,” said the teenager from Nakhon Ratchasima, who won gold at the World Youth Championships in Budapest in August.
“If I can maintain this level,” he added. “I’m quite confident about my chances in the final but I won’t underestimate my rival. I hope I can win the gold medal as a gift for my parents.”
Three more Thais will fight for the gold medals tonight.
They include flyweight Sarawut Sukthet, who eased past Luiz Gabriel Chalot De Oliviera of Brazil 4-1 in his semi-final.
The 17-year-old, who was bitten by Afghan opponent Sultan Mohammad Naeemi on the left shoulder in the previous round, will take on Britain’s Ivan Price in the final.
Atichai Phomsap reacts after his win.
“I was being patient and waiting for the right time to punch for points. In the final, the British guy is quite tall and has long arms. But I have no fear – my goal is to take the gold home,” Sarawut said.
In the women’s boxing, featherweight Panpatchara Somnuek beat Dearbhla Rooney of Ireland 4-1 and will face Jennifer Carrillo of Mexico in the final, while lightweight Porntip Buapa trounced Emma Lawson of Australia 5-0 to book a date with Briton Caroline Sara Dubois.
The only Thai to exit at the semi-final stage was middleweight Weerapon Jongjoho, nephew of former Olympic champion Somjit Jongjoho, who lost to Keno Machado of Brazil 5-0